[Foundation-l] Preservation of cultural diversity and minority languages

Gerard Meijssen gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Sun Feb 10 12:21:44 UTC 2008

The Wikimedia Foundation does not spend anything on the support of languages
per se. What it supports is projects in many languages. It is people that
invest in their language and culture.

In the last two Wikimanias it has been said that we, the Wikimedia
Foundation, want to promote Wikipedia particularly in Africa. It is only in
2008 that the first three exclusively African languages have the most
relevant messages in MediaWiki localised. If the WMF has invested in African
languages, there has not been much that can be observed that has a practical
value. We are not talking about minority languages when we are talking about
Swahili, Amharic, Igbo, Yoruba.....

The WMF is not investing in languages; it supports projects. These projects
can be in whatever language. The WMF supports what comes along and has
sufficient relevance. It is the board that decides what languages the WMF
supports and as a consequence is given this relevance, the most the language
committee does is recommend to allow for a particular project.

So in conclusion, it is *people *that invest in languages. It is the
Wikimedia Foundation that provides them with a platform to make this happen.


On Feb 10, 2008 12:45 PM, Jesse Martin (Pathoschild) <pathoschild at gmail.com>

> All these comments are very informative, but we're straying from the
> topic. The question is not whether we should deliberately exclude
> minority languages or cultures, but whether we should consider the
> preservation of cultures and languages part of the Foundation mission.
> If we don't consider something a goal, that does not mean we work
> *against* it. For example, our goal is not to promote human rights or
> prevent child soldiery, even though our work benefits those causes.
> Should the Foundation be willing to allocate donated funds and
> resources to that purpose? What is the mission of the Wikimedia
> Foundation itself (not of the individual users, who have their own
> causes and motives)?
> --
> Yours cordially,
> Jesse Martin (Pathoschild)
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